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The Silent Steppe

The Story of a Kazakh Nomad Under Stalin

Mukhamet Shayakhmetov


Editeur - Casa editrice

Stacey Intl

Asia
Asia Centrale
Kazakistan

Anno - Date de Parution

2007

Pagine - Pages

345

Titolo originale

The Silent Steppe: The Story of a Kazakh Nomad Under Stalin

Lingua - language - langue

Eng

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The Silent Steppe: The Story of a Kazakh Nomad Under Stalin

The Silent Steppe  

This is a first-hand account of the genocide of the Kazakh nomads in the 1920s and 30s. Nominally Muslim, the Kazakhs and their culture owed as much to shamanism and paganism as they did to Islam. Their ancient traditions and economy depended on the breeding and herding of stock across the vast steppes of central Asia, and their independent, nomadic way of life was anathema to the Soviets.
Seven-year-old Shayakhmetov and his mother and sisters were left to fend for themselves after his father was branded a "kulak" (well-off peasant and thus class enemy), stripped of his possessions, and sent to a prison camp where he died. In the following years the family traveled thousands of miles across Kazakhstan by foot, surviving on the charity of relatives. Told with dignity and detachment, this central Asian Wild Swans awakens the reader to the scale of suffering of millions of Kazakhs, and also astonishes and inspires as a most singular survivor's tale.

 



Biografia

Mukhamet Shayakhmetov was born in Kamyshinka village, East Kazakhstan Region. He was drafted by enlistment office of administrative center of Kurshim District in 125th reserve regiment of Semipalatinsk city. Since June 27th, 1942 he served as a scout in 656th regiment of 116th Eastern Front infantry division, took part in Smolensk and Stalingrad battles. Returned home after the war and worked as a teacher in Kamyshinka village, meanwhile took extra-mural classes at teacher's training college. Then worked as a head of Cherdoyak middle school, Nikitinka village, Ulan District, from 1958 to 1983 as a head of 23rd school of Ust-Kamenogorsk. He got retired in 1983, but kept working for Ust-Kamenogorsk Titanium and Magnesium Plant. until March 1990. He wrote and published the book about years of war and labour.